Methadone’s Use in Heroin Detox

Methadone's use in heroin detoxUsed for over 30 years, methadone is a well-tested medication that has been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of opioid (a class of drug derived either naturally or synthetically from opium) withdrawal and dependence. The process of administering the substance is known as Methadone Replacement Therapy or more commonly as Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT).

Methadone is used to relieve narcotic craving, suppress the abstinence syndrome and block the euphoric effects associated with opiates. MMT has been found to be medically safe and non-sedating. It is also indicated for pregnant women addicted to opiates. Methadone has no adverse effects on mental capability, intelligence, or employability, nor does it interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Patients are able to feel pain and experience emotional reactions.

Methadone is taken orally each day and suppresses narcotic withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours. Because it is a synthetic opioid itself, the patient may remain physically dependent on it but is freed from the uncontrolled, compulsive and disruptive behavior seen in heroin addicts.

Withdrawal (detox) from methadone is much slower than that from heroin. As a result, it is possible to maintain an addict on methadone without severe side effects. Many MMT patients require ongoing treatment which can last many years. It is often safer to stay on methadone then to detox before a patient is ready.

Availability of Methadone Treatment

According to the American Methadone Treatment Association in 1999, about 20 percent of the estimated 810,000 heroin addicts in the United States receive MMT. The operating practices of clinics and hospitals are currently bound by Federal regulations that restrict the use and availability of methadone.

Methadone Clinics and Effectiveness

A methadone clinic is a treatment facility that coordinates MMT. The addict does not live at the facility but must appear each day to receive the methadone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that weekly heroin use decreased by 69 percent for outpatients receiving MMT. This decrease in use allows the individual’s health and productivity to improve.

Use of Alcohol with Methadone

Mixing alcohol with methadone treatment can have dangerous effects. It may even lead to death. If you’re taking methadone, avoid alcoholic beverages and check all of your food and medicine labels for even small amounts of alcohol before you consume them.

Heroin Addiction Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, please call 888-838-8386 here to help. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have heroin addiction treatment.